A year after his 1951 Ford Rat Rod caught the attention of judges, Edmonton’s Matteo Medoro has once again bagged a spot as a finalist at the SEMA Young Guns Battle of the Builders.
This year the SEMA competition, as well as the qualifiers, are all virtual events.
The Edmontonian put a 1947 Dodge cab on a 1991 3/4 ton 4×4 first generation Dodge chassis. Under the hood is a 12 valve Cummins with a BD Diesel turbo. It’s equipped with ABS, and Toyo 38″ x 15.5″ tires.
The project went from frame to completion in seven months.
It’s a different build in many ways from last year’s ’51 Ford pickup, but definitely has Medoro’s individual stamp on it.
“I’m definitely really inspired by Vegas Rat Rods and what they do with their stuff. So I just tried to do my own variation. This one is slightly newer than the last. It’s a 1947 body sitting on 1991 Dodge four by four diesel frame. So it’s not super new, but newer.”
While Medoro handled the build, he gives a special shout out to BD Diesel in Abbotsford, B.C.
“There’s some people out there that helped us out with the motor modifications and tuned up our pumps and new injectors and helped with the turbo.”
He started the build almost immediately after the SEMA show last year, but when the pandemic hit, and he was laid off from his part time job, he had more time to commit.
“I ended up spending my time working on that every day, from seven in the morning to six in the evening. Every day I was working on it. It took quite a bit of time to get a lot of the major work done, like the body mounts for the cab and building the deck and everything. And then all the smaller things kind of came at the end to finish it off.”
In the end, the build took first place in the Young Guns qualifier in Seattle, which had transitioned to a virtual event this year.
“Since I won this competition in Seattle I get a spot at SEMA, but since SEMA isn’t happening this year [in person], they basically are having an online, virtual competition. And then I get to bring my vehicle to SEMA next year as well and compete again. So it’s like a two for one deal.”
Medoro, who is now in his third year of autobody studies at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), says that the program has helped him have a better approach the project.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot and have more skills that I didn’t have before. At NAIT they show you a lot of the old-school techniques and a bunch of the new stuff too. So it’s good to build your skills up. And they have all the newest tools out there. So you get to use everything. So it’s really good that way.”
He says that he looks at the way he was doing some of the work before and shakes his head.
“I’m like, wow, why did I do that? I can just cut it out and redo it. That’s how it is.”
His advice to anyone reading who might want to get into a build is simple.
“Give it a shot. Why not? You can’t really mess it up, but if you do, you can always cut it out and redo it or remake the piece.
“School definitely helps you get a lot more skills. It does help with the quality of your work. You get basically infinite practice. It’s all the school’s materials and they let you just use it. You can just try as much as you want and fail as much as you want.”
Medoro did want to give some shout outs for helping with the build to BD Diesel, Deputy Diesel, CPC Performance, Flo-Pro Exhaust, Northern Radiator, and Nitrous Express.
And, of course, to his folks for the use of the garage.
“I would also like to give a shout out my buddies Colton, Edison, and Tyler who kept me company and gave me a hand every now and then.”
Last year Medoro, then 19, won “the golden ticket” invitation to the SEMA Young Guns competition by taking top honours at the Seattle Drift regional SEMA competition with his ’51 Ford rat rod.
Last year’s project took more than two years, fueled by a steady training program of YouTube videos and advice from St. Joseph Catholic High School where he was a student.
Medora has learned well. Aside from the project trucks, he won two gold medals in Skills Alberta autobody competitions and took a silver medal at Skills Canada in 2018.